Sunday, 3 July 2011
Erica, of Erica's Edibles, was our host for the Daring Bakers' June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly daring by making homemade phyllo and then to use that homemade dough to make baklava.
So this challenge felt pretty daunting at first. I have attempted baklava before-about 5 years ago and it was NOT good! I have been planning on trying again-with a recipe from my friend's mother. So, when this challenge came up, it seemed the perfect opportunity to try her recipe. Although the phyllo dough seems challenging at first, you quickly get used to working with it and it gets easier as you go. It did take me over an hour to roll out the dough and assemble the baklava....but it was worth it! The end result was great. However, my syrup didn't thicken up enough. I have no idea why this is, since my friend's mother is very successful with the recipe. Anyway, I'm including a different syrup recipe here that I haven't actually tried but that will hopefully be thicker and more gooey.
Ingredients for the pastry:
4 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water (or more if needed)
1 cup melted butter (for assembling)
Ingredients for the filling:
1 cup finely chopped pistachios
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup finely chopped almonds
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon
Ingredients for the syrup:
3 cups caster sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
To make the syrup:
Put the sugar, honey and cinnamon stick in a small pan and pour in the water. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer without stirring for 5min. (It should be somewhat thickened-it may require more simmering time). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (using the syrup slightly warm is OK).
To make the dough:
Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in the centre and add the eggd, oil and water to this. Slowly work in the flour with a fork. Do this until the dough sticks together. Knead the dough for approximately 15 mins. It should be smooth and supple. (At the kneading stage, I found I needed to add quite a bit more flour to get it to the right consistency. The dough still turned out perfectly-so don't be afraid to add more flour!) Cover and put in the fridge for 30mins.
To make the filling:
Mix together the ingredients for the filling and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180*C. Grease a 9x9 in baking tinwith melted butter. (I used an 8x8 in. tin as it was all that I had and it seemed perfect)
When rolling out the phyllo, be sure to keep your work surface and rolling pin very well floured. Tear off a golf ball size piece of dough. Roll it out a little and then wrap around your rolling pin and roll very quickly. Rotate and repeat. (Note: you do not have to use this method of rolling out the dough. Just be sure to get the dough as thin as possible-you should be able to see through it.) Put the rolled out phyllo into the tin and brush it with melted butter. Repeat this 5 times, ending with butter.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the nut mixture on top.
Continue layering and buttering the phyllo dough, repeating 4 times. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture on top. Layer and butter the remaining phyllo sheets (there should be about 7 layers on top). Tuck the edges in to give it a nice appearance. Butter the top and let stand for a few mins to harden slightly.
Using a very sharp knife, cut the baklava into 16 equal squares and cut each square into 2 triangles.
Bake for approximately 30 min, until golden.
Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately pour over the syrup. The syrup should be visible, but not completely covering the baklava.
Allow to cool to room temperature and sit overnight to absorb the syrup. Serve at room temperature. Baklava can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks (but it won't last that long!!) Apparently, it is freezable, but I have not tried this.